One thirty five. My brother is one to wallow in guilt and despair, but that’s not for me anymore. I did my penance for some imagined crime— whatever it was. Families are adept at imposing feelings of obligation to the other members. Somehow I got the idea to liberate myself from futile self punishment. It was a form of masochism that served no purpose whatsoever. What was the point in hurting myself when nobody cares anyway? The only lease on life I have is myself. Self harm is absurd because the only subject is oneself. The existence of a world relies solely on the knower. It is bad philosophy to compromise quality of life, and suicide is the ultimate fallacy. Nothingness is inevitable, so why hurry it up? One would have to feel hopelessly trapped to consider an end to existence. The potential for a happy life seems so far away. What it comes down to is facing your own freedom. Sometimes anything seems preferable to a big change. We are faced with making sacrifices in order to find the greater good. I sacrificed my family’s approval. I realized that I would never obtain it anyway. Whose values did I value, theirs or mine? Which counted for more? But the only arbiter of value is ultimately oneself, and that’s perfectly okay.
Setting out for the store, traipsing down my own street, I remembered Kate’s literalism and how that felt to me. I actually loved it because it was so simple. No abstruse doctrines, no nothing, really. Just the immediate stuff around me and the asphalt under my feet. Do we say that such an existence is amoral? If not, then Dostoevsky’s “everything is permitted” is incorrect. Maybe human rules don’t depend on metaphysics. Maybe the rules are just human. The Absolute was chiefly a nineteenth century philosophical notion. After the turn of the twentieth century, the concept declined with the rise of analytic philosophy, which was the tradition Kate followed. Existentialism survived into the next century, and it was this tradition I gravitated to when our friendship neared the end. I recall rereading Unamuno’s Abel Sanchez in February 2017. To be honest I was tunneling my way like a mole in the direction of recovery. I was contemplating it, but consciously didn’t know what I was doing. Now I’ve come up on the green earth and can look back at the maze I left. Four months after Unamuno I attended my first church service. And three months from there I stopped drinking, starting my longest term of sobriety ever. The mole knew exactly what it was doing, and still does.
Three o’clock. The jam date is set: Sunday from two to four o’clock. I’m taking Ridesource because it’s so much cheaper than Oregon Taxi. It’ll be seven dollars round trip. Now, what about church Sunday? I don’t want to leave Aesop alone for all those hours. I should let them know in advance I have other plans. I can hear Pastor saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” I guess I didn’t really want to go to church Sunday. I skipped it last Sunday. But you know, it might be time to move on. If that’s all, then it’s a healthy thing. Could I be getting bored with church? This happens with me over time. I remember how Dave stopped attending AA meetings when his sobriety was stable. He simply got on with his life. Life happens to people. Why should I be an exception? I have enough intelligence to be able to trust myself. I’m older now than when Mom died. Think of the millions of words I’ve written in my lifetime! And all through the process I was trying to solve a problem. Not a great truth riddle but just my personal life. Who am I and where do I want to go? Figure out the basics and then where I fit in, sort of like playing an instrument in the band. This Sunday should be a good time!
I slept another four hours, or maybe only three. Dropping off was difficult. Music in my head is “ABC” by the Jackson 5. Not one of my favorites. A mourning dove coos off to my left. I had a memory of the bank Monday. Jeff had sent me a fifty dollar check for my birthday in January 2018, so I had my advocate Lon drive me to deposit it. I was very superstitious that day. The check sat between us on the floorboard. When Lon had parked and opened his door, a big gust of wind reached in, picked up the check, and floated it way off to the next lot. This to me was proof that the powers that be didn’t approve of my brother’s money. Lon did manage to recover the check after it had nearly been run over. I deposited it eventually, but I believed it was contrary to the will of God. I wasn’t well, yet I still had some fun with it. Later I used the money to buy a couple of Loeb classics of Aristotle. One of them may have been trashed following the fire. Funny, but with the extra cash I had from not buying beer I could only think to buy more books. I rewarded myself that way. I still wasn’t aware of what a hoarder was; that revelation came in the springtime. Today, a year and a season later, I am counseled that knowledge is power. That is, the hoarding is an issue I have control over. I feel that I’m in better hands now. This Thursday morning contains the promise of being whatever I make of it. I think I’ll trudge over to the pharmacy at nine o’clock. Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?
Five o’clock. If God exists, his spirit is just a contagion of positive emotions. Good karma, so to speak. It’s still very hard to prove the existence of soul substance. No one has ever been able to do it. We can theorize about dark matter or subtle matter all we want, but… There’s still something to the positivity theme. My analytic mind has difficulty with it, but it’s not a thing of logic. It’s a thing of feeling. Everyone can feel positive or negative vibes, and see them in smiles or frowns. The obtuse person is someone like me, trying to solve a problem when there is none.
The predawn blackness is yet promising of a new kind of day. Eduardo’s wedding reception is today after worship. Victoria is a nice looking girl, and quite a flutist. It’s good that they’re staying in Eugene rather than moving to Brazil. I understand that the new president there is a worse conservative than Trump. He threatens to shut down the philosophy departments of universities in order to have no questions asked. He hates gay people and women… But today is a new beginning for Eduardo. For me, I suppose it is too. I don’t know where my words come from, but I say them anyway. They seem innocuous enough. No one has contacted me through WordPress with hate mail. I’ve gotten three offers for assistance in attracting visitors to my site. It just sounds shady to me, and besides I don’t want to waste forty dollars a month on a potential scam. I seem to be doing okay without cheating. I feel a little cold, so I think I’ll stop the air conditioning. I see the first light of dawn, grayish purple to the northeast. A cat just made a terrible screech. A few cars people the highway. Another observation: my brother said things that were untrue just to discourage me from doing my thing. He claimed that no one would understand what I had to say, but no one else has evidenced incomprehension so far. He further minimized every accomplishment of mine as being someone feeling sorry for me. That was a cruel thing to say, and I resent it. Actually, the number of cruel things he said is countless. He conveniently forgot all of them due to alcohol abuse. He can’t be incriminated for what he doesn’t remember, right? And he had the gall to call me an asshole last winter? I hope a mouse pees in his Miller Light. Meanwhile the sky lightens to a hint of blue with a touch of pink. The traffic intensifies to the accompaniment of barking dogs and cawing crows. A mourning dove coos owlishly. Nothing stops daybreak.
Midnight. Jeff was a total prick. To hell with family dynamics! I don’t have to subordinate myself anymore. That used to be misery, having two self righteous bitchy people for siblings. I loathe them both. I guess I’m not much of a Christian to be so defiant. But you know, my siblings held me down and shat on my head. Pissed on my back. I don’t have to put up with that! Nobody ever has to be degraded like that. I stand for human dignity in high places and low alike. Everybody deserves respect. The homeless person who begs you for a cigarette even deserves to be listened to. Everyone has a story to tell, and that’s been my policy with every taxi driver who’s taken me someplace. I listen. It’s more important to listen than to speak. Failure to listen is a failure to learn. Apply the Golden Rule in communication: don’t I want to be listened to as well? That’s another wall I hit with my siblings. Nothing I said was ever worth hearing. So I would remind everyone that there’s no excuse for keeping others down. Everyone has a voice, everyone has a say. All who have been subjugated, take heart and take charge! Freedom and democracy will not fail! Do what you have to do in order to hear yourself think. There is no one so perfect that she or he may trample your rights. Self righteousness is all over the place. People think they know everything and you know nothing. But I say, empower yourself. Put aside the guilt and shame and start respecting yourself. The same sun shines on us all. On us all the same rain falls. To nature, we are all equal alike. Let our voices sound together in a symphony of change for the better!